The 11 Healthiest Ways to Cook When You Have No Time

<p>Because healthy and "fast food" should get along.</p>

Preparing quick and healthy meals should be easy. While it might feel good to put a delicious dinner on the table night after night, it can also be incredibly time-consuming. Turning to fast food or frozen meals on days when you feel like you have no more energy to exert may feel like an easy solution, but you deserve better than that! We don't think you have to sacrifice your diet for the sake of your time (or sanity). Instead, we've put together an awesome list of the top 11 cooking tips that will allow you to prepare wholesome meals quickly! Check out some of our go-to tricks and tools for healthy home cooking on the clock:

1. Prep Your Fruits and Veggies for the Week Ahead

Your life in the kitchen will get a lot easier if you do your laborious prep work ahead of time. Chop and cut veggies and/or fruit for the week ahead. Store them in the fridge in grab and go storage bags. Eat raw as a snack, roast them for dinner, or throw them into your breakfast smoothies! Plus, you can easily sprinkle them to any recipe throughout the week for added health and flavor. At the end of the day, you will have saved yourself some serious chopping time and gained some serious scrumptiousness!

Get weekly vegetable & fruit prep tips from The Pink Lady Chronicles.

2. Make Food Ahead of Time

Refrigerator Oatmeal Recipes

Try making food ahead of time! Overnight oats are all the rage these days because they're a healthy, delicious, and easy go-to in the morning (having cooked overnight!). Check out these 5 overnight oat recipes that will revolutionize your mornings. We also recommend batch cooking brown rice, quinoa, farro, and other healthy grains to have in the fridge for when the week gets busy. Use this chart for a quick how-to guide on how to cook grains. We also love freezing our fruit & veggie smoothie ingredients so that they're ready to pop in the blender when we roll out of bed in the morning. Try hard-boiling eggs ahead of time so you have a great source of grab-n-go protein whenever you want!

3. Turn to Supermarket Shortcuts (We Won't Tell!)

You don't have to go it alone! Tap into your local supermarket as a resource to make healthy cooking fast! You can grab the pre-chopped veggies and fruits to save you (and your arms!) some arduous chopping time. We also love to get a store-bought rotisserie chicken to have for the week ahead. Revamp your rotisserie chicken routine with these 3 delicious recipes! Don't worry, we won't tell your guests it's actually deli chicken! They'll never taste the difference.

4. Rethink the Microwave

It seems the microwave was invented for the fast-paced world we now live in. But that doesn't mean grabbing a pre-made meal and sticking it in the microwave is the best option. You can still retain the nutritional value of at-home cooking while using this gadget to expedite your meal prep. We recommend steaming your veggies in the microwave to save time. Also, consider cooking individual portions in the microwave one-by-one. We also love making potato chips in the microwave because it cuts the fat! You can also microwave your poultry for quicker cooking time. The possibilities are endless: Check out these five meals you can make in the microwave today!

5. Pound It Out for Quicker, Leaner Meat

Pound chicken, veal, and other lean meats to thinner cuts to speed up cook time. You can also have the butcher do this when you're buying your meat if you really want a shortcut! Don't miss these tips on how to pound out your meat in no time!

6. Opt for Small Proteins for Fast Cooking

Try quick-cooking smaller cuts of proteins such as shrimp, chicken tenders, and scallops. The smaller the surface area, the quicker the cooking time! Add these proteins to any salad, soup, or weekday meal you're making.

7. Keep a Well-Stocked, Healthy Pantry

You know when there's good food around, you'll eat it! But when there's just junk food lying about and no healthy options? You'll eat that, too. That's why we think it's so important to always have healthy goods on-hand. That goes for nuts, canned beans, healthy oils, canned tomatoes, and the like at the ready! Don't miss our favorite pantry picks for a healthy, low-sodium diet. A healthy pantry means endless healthy snacks, sauces, and condiments. Check out these simple 16 dinners from healthy pantry staples.

8. It's All in the Seasoning

Have spices and herbs on hand to add flavor fast without adding calories and fat! Add depth of flavor to quick-cooking soups, casseroles, and the like by using your favorite herbs and spices. Check out these 6 secrets to making a healthy & speedy soup by adding a kick of seasoning.

9. Get Real with these Healthy One-Pot Meals

Whether you use a skillet a pot or a wok, we're all about one-dish meals for easy cooking! Check out these healthy one-dish dinner recipes and you can thank us later. P.S. Clean-up is a breeze: Win-win!

10. Under Pressure to Get Dinner On the Table? Try a Pressure Cooker

A pressure cooker is a surefire solution to cooking under pressure! We especially like this for expediting the time it takes to cook rice and grains (snooze). Just be sure to never overfill the pressure cooker with liquid (this has happened to us!) as it needs room for the steam to build up. We're loving this vegan white bean chili recipe you can make in your pressure cooker in no time!

11. Eggs Anytime

Eggs aren't just for breakfast anymore! This quick and easy protein source can be beaten (pun intended) into a delicious meal any time of day! Fry up a weeknight frittata or add an egg to almost anything to make it ooze yumminess! Add eggs to salads or gravy and even to your favorite pasta sauce. The egg-cellent possibilities are endless. Reimagine eggs with these 10 surprising recipes.

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